Dangers of the Curated Aesthetic: My Style

My favorite outfit when I was young was my Tweety Bird corduroy overalls. I even had matching Tweety Bird and Sylvester glasses. I don’t really remember any other outfits I wore during my childhood years except that one.

And I can’t really remember any other favorite outfits or looks I had until grad school about 20 years later.

But I think I’ve always cared about the way I look. I’ve obsessed over how I wish I’d look. I’d make lists of things I wanted in order to make myself feel more like me. I would puzzle over my skin tone, the arch in my eyebrows, the color of my hair.

I’ve had a lifelong struggle with feeling like my outsides needed to match my dreams of who I should be. And I want to blame it on our culture that is drawn to the curated things: the specially selected, the intentionally organized, and the powerfully presented.

But the thing is I feel more confident when I dress to my personal aesthetic, when I choose the leather ankle boots over flats.

These days I really want to bleach my hair to a platinum blonde, just to see if maybe that will help me look like the best me. I want to wear leather with denim, Doc Martens, dark lipstick, and have clear skin. I want to be thin because it makes me feel like I can move more easily throughout the world. You can go to my Pinterest and see exactly who I wish I was.

And I know I just a wrote about my story, how I struggled with wanting to be a certain kind of person that I was never meant to be. But now I’m at the other end of the stick. I want to be more and more of who I am. Just on the outside.

And that’s probably the center of this obsession and nitpicky nature I’ve held in my brain for so long. I don’t think I’ve reached my greatest potential, the point where my outsides, my style, captures who I am perfectly. The things I like are the things I wear to represent myself.

I’ve always thought if I can look like that person, then I can be confident too.

Then I can be at peace with my place in the world. Then I can finally live the life I’m meant to live.

And at the deepest root of it all I know I just want to be special, feel special, feel different. I want to stand out, but I want to do it in a subtle way that says I’m not trying too hard. That this is just me.

Maybe I need to remember that I am set apart already. I do not need to curate myself. I am a unique individual. I have been specially selected, intentionally arranged, and powerfully presented in Christ.

Maybe this is just another way that I’m self-centered.


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